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Rob Hirst And Sean Sennett's Collab Is Based On Friendship And Spontaneity

17 September 2015 | 3:58 pm | Michael Smith

"I was really ready for an album about cars and girls."

You all know at least one half of the collaboration behind a new album titled Crashing The Same Car Twice. Rob Hirst is of course the powerhouse drummer behind Midnight Oil and its instrumental love child The Break, as well as Ghostwriters, Hirst & Greene and The Backsliders. Sean Sennett first put his head above the musical parapet with Crush 76 in 1998, but has released solo albums and one with The Incredible Strand.

"Like a lot of recordings, this one starts with friendship," Hirst explains. "I met Sean at this writing retreat at Mount Macedon about 15 years ago and we co-wrote a song that we never finished. I seem to remember it was a really good song and then I wrote this ridiculously impossible to repeat middle-eight, so we abandoned it. But there was something there and Sean and I corresponded and became friends and promised ourselves if we could wedge a bit of time in between everything else, we'd eventually make an album together.

"Just like when we were 17 or 18, imagining underfelt on the walls and egg cartons and the oil that used to drip out of one of my mini-vans."

"It's a pretty even collaboration between what Sean does, that marvellous semi-spoken vocal that he does, and that kind of melodic whatever I do, and it's meant that Sean's songs mid-stream take off into my part and mysteriously find their way back to his part but it somehow fits. The main thing was we wanted to make a spontaneous two-guitar-bass-drums album, just like when we were 17 or 18, imagining underfelt on the walls and egg cartons and the oil that used to drip out of one of my mini-vans back then," he chuckles at the memory.

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"So everything was written spontaneously, just a couple of acoustic guitars, and then taken to the band, which includes the marvellous Jason Millhouse, who's one of these guitar players who also does everything — he also produced the album — and we used his studio up in Brisbane to record most of it." Filling out the bass end of things is Derek Haas, who, it turns out, told Hirst that he "learnt to play the bass just like Rick Grossman from the Hoodoo Gurus and Peter Gifford from Midnight Oil, so we immediately locked in.

"As you'll know, "he continues, "I've been in a number of different projects over the years — the folky thing with Paul Greene in Hirst & Greene and the swamp blues of The Backsliders so I was really ready for an album about cars and girls," he chuckles again. "Short songs with some great guitar players, strong melodies. You come full circle, if you're lucky, a few times in your life and in your career, and this does feel like another completion of the circle. But it doesn't work unless you're really enjoying it and you like the people, and that's certainly the case. I've really loved going up to Brisbane and recording.   

"I went up to Brisbane three or four times, did the songwriting, literally took it into the studio. It was go in, record three songs, come back in three months later, record another three songs, come back in another three months... album done."